The Jacksonville Jaguars showed interest in signing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to bolster their pass rush earlier this year. However, they opted not to pursue him and instead brought back Dawuane Smoot. After having to wait a few months for the right offer, Ngakoue has found a new home with the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, the Jags still need to upgrade their pass rush and it's fair to wonder if they should have been more aggressive in the pursuit.
Ngakoue signaled that he signed with the Chicago by posting a Bear emoji. Multiple reports then confirmed the move and Adam Schefter of ESPN later shared that it was a one-year deal for $10.5 million dollars. Back in June, Ngakoue said on Sirius XL NFL Radio that he wanted to secure a multi-year contract with a contender but the Bears don't seem to fit the ball, so it's possible that he joined them because they had the best offer.
Ngakoue, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, has been highly productive over the last seven seasons, registering 65 sacks and 21 forced fumbles in 110 ten games. In Chicago, Ngakoue automatically becomes their best defender up front. He'll be a bookend to DeMarcus Walker, who joined the Bears in free agency.
Michael DiRocco of ESPN reported in April that there was mutual interest between the Jags and Ngakoue but noted that his potential compensation and role on defense were two roadblocks to getting a deal done. He'll be the top pass rusher in Chicago while he would've probably been No. 3 behind outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker.
The Jaguars still need to address their pass rush
Players are worth whatever a club is willing to pay them and Chicago thinks $10 million for Ngakoue is reasonable, which is more than what Leonard Floyd and Frank Clark got from the Buffalo Bills and the Denver Broncos, respectively.
With Ngakoue now off the market, the Jaguars will have to look for other ways to improve their pass rush. K'Lavon Chaisson, a 2020 draft pick, is currently No. 3 in their rotation, according to head coach Doug Pederson. Rookies Tyler Lacy and Yasir Abdullah could also be in the mix but expecting either one to have a huge impact right off the bat, it might be too much to ask.
While there's a chance Chaisson at last puts it all together, or one of the rookies steps up, the Jaguars should consider bringing outside help to bolster their pass rush. The issue is that there aren't many enticing options left available. Veterans Melvin Ingram and Justin Houston and the best of the bunch and either one could round out the Jaguars' rotation. There's also Jadeveon Clowney but his potential compensation probably exceeds what the Jags' budget.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars want to contend in 2023, they can't allow their pass rush to hold them back. The good news is that they still have a bit of time to address it.